U.S. stocks managed to pare early losses Wednesday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 200 points in morning trading. However, all three major indexes still closed lower after investors weighed a series of reports that painted a mixed picture of the U.S. economy ahead of Friday’s monthly jobs report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 77.94 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 17,698.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 8.20 points, or 0.40 percent, to end at 2,059.69. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 20.66 points, or 0.42 percent, to finish at 4,880.23.
GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE:GDDY), the world's largest website registrar, made its stock market debut Wednesday with an initial public offering that values the company at $5.48 billion. Shares leaped more than 30 percent after the stock opened for trading at $26.15, and rose as high as $26.84, after being priced at $20 a share. Shares closed Wednesday unchanged from its opening price at $26.15.
A sharp rise in oil prices, coupled with a Deutsche Bank downgrade put downward pressure on airline stocks, briefly sending the Dow Jones Transportation Average dropping more than 1 percent to below its 200-day moving average of 8,660.87.
Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ:AAL) tumbled more than 4 percent Wednesday to close at $50.44 after Deutsche Bank downgraded the company, along with Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE:UAL) on fears their international businesses would weigh on corporate earnings for the next few quarters. Shares of Delta dropped more than 3 percent to end at $43.26, while United Continental finished the trading session down 4 percent to $64.01.
Oil prices rallied higher Wednesday, snapping a three-day losing streak, after U.S. oil inventories maintained at a record high for a 12th straight week, but rose less than expected, which eased fears of oversupply in the global market.
U.S. oil inventories rose by 4.8 million barrels for the week ended March 20, signaling crude stockpiles remained at a record high for a 12th consecutive week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. However, the EIA’s report came in below the American Petroleum Institute's previous estimate of a 5.2 million-barrel build in crude supplies, released Tuesday.
West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, jumped 5.2 percent to $50.09 a barrel, for May 15 delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, rose $2 to $57 a barrel, for May 15 delivery on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Market professionals are looking ahead to the government's weekly jobless claims report coming Thursday at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Data last week revealed the number of Americans filing unemployment benefits fell to a five-week low after jobless claims dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000 for the week ended March 21, the Labor Department said last week. Economists expect claims to rise 3,000 to total 285,000 last week, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Separately, data Wednesday revealed fewer jobs were created in the private sector in March, while U.S. manufacturing slowed further last month. The ADP report is widely used as an indicator for the U.S. labor market ahead of the government jobs report.